Auditor gives St. Helena School Board good grade

“We hadn’t built anything in so long, we forgot all the procedures, but we’ll catch up and make it right.” Edward “scott” galmon, St. Helena Parish School Board president

The St. Helena Parish School Board received a relatively clean audit report for 2011-12 with only two findings, the board’s independent auditor said Thursday.

Larry Jones, audit manager with New Orleans accounting firm Bruno & Tervalon, said the School Board earned an unqualified opinion, the highest possible, for its funds management and ended the fiscal year with a positive balance in each fund.

The firm did note two findings, however, in compliance and internal controls and in agreed-upon procedures, Jones said.

One finding dealt with the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires construction payrolls to be certified and at the prevailing wage scale, he said. For the 2011-12 fiscal year, the School Board did not monitor its construction payrolls, he said.

School Board President Edward “Scott” Galmon said, “We hadn’t built anything in so long, we forgot all the procedures, but we’ll catch up and make it right.”

The second finding related to the district’s reporting of class sizes to the state Department of Education, Jones said.

“We tested 10 roll books, and six of the 10 did not agree with the class size reported to the Education Department,” Jones said.

Both findings were new for the district, with all other findings from previous fiscal years having been resolved in 2011-12, he said.

Galmon said the district should be proud of that progress.

“I think this administration has done a good job of moving us away from the negativity of the past,” Galmon said. “It’s good to hear that we’ve fixed things that just weren’t getting done right for years and years.”

Other business coming before the School Board included:

SALARY SCHEDULE: The board adopted a salary schedule for nine-month certified employees that includes $1,000 supplements for teachers rated highly effective, $175 for those rated effective proficient and $25 for those who fill in-demand positions. The supplements are one-time payments in addition to employees’ annual salaries.

The district will use School Improvement Grant funds to pay for the supplements, stemming any effects on the general fund for two years, Superintendent Kelli Joseph said.

SCHOOL CALENDAR: The board adopted a 2013-14 calendar that extends the school year across more weeks but includes fewer work days than in prior years, Joseph said.

The school year will begin for students on Aug. 6 and end May 22, with holidays including a three-day fall break in October, a week for Thanksgiving, 12 days for Christmas and New Year’s, a weeklong Mardi Gras break and six days around Easter.